Winter Weather Alerts


A Watch is usually issued 36 to 48 hours ahead of anticipated winter weather events that are expected to make travel difficult or threaten life and property.


A warning will be issued when there is high confidence that winter weather will make travel extremely difficult or nearly impossible at times - whether it be from heavy snowfall or extreme ice accumulation.

Winter Storm Warning: The criteria can vary from region to region based on an areas snowfall climatology. For areas around Kansas City, this usually means 6" of snowfall or more is expected in 12 hours or less. A warning could also be issued for 8" of snow accumulation (or more) in a 24 hour period.

Ice Storm Warning:

•Damaging accumulations of ice 1/4 inch or greater.

Blizzard Warning:

- Sustained wind gusts to 35 mph or higher.

- Considerable snow and/or blowing snow reducing visibility to a 1/4 mile or less.

*Both of these must occur for a period of 3 hours or longer.

Wind Chill Warning:

•Wind chill indices are expected to reach -25 degrees or colder for one hour.


Advisories are used for winter weather precipitation events that cause significant inconveniences, but are not considered life-threatening.

Winter Weather Advisory:

•Used for winter weather precipitation that is not expected to reach warning criteria.

- In general, new snow accumulation less than 6 inches in 12 hours. In all cases forecaster discretion will be used to issue an advisory.

- Blowing snow which intermittently reduces visibility less than 1/2 mile, or produces drifting snow which closes roadways.

- Sleet accumulations less than 1/2 inch.

- Freezing rain or freezing drizzle with accumulations less than 1/4 inch.

Wind Chill Advisory:

•Wind chill indices are expected to range between -15 to -25 degrees for at least one hour.


1) Get your car inspected or tuned up ahead of the winter season. Check, and repair as necessary, your battery, antifreeze, wipers and windshield washer fluid, lights, heater, defroster, and tires.

2) Keep your smartphone batteries charged before a trip and invest in chargers to use in-car as well.

3) Having a winter weather kit in your car can help you out when Mother Nature has a winter weather temper tantrum!

Put these in your Kit:

- Snow Shovel

- Ice Scraper

- Jumper cables

- Sand or kitty litter to add traction

- Extra blankets or clothing

- Non-perishable food

- A first aid kit

- A tow rope or chain

- Water (don't leave in car when parked to avoid freezing)

- Extra gloves (especially when going through the rockies ;) )

- Road flares (to help you be seen if stranded on roadside)

- De-icer

4) Plan ahead: Don't be afraid to cancel or re-schedule a road trip if winter weather appears dangerous. Don't be caught in white-out conditions, heavy snow, blizzards, or ice storms unless it's an absolute emergency.

5) If you are caught in winter weather beyond your driving capabilities - don't be afraid to pull off at the nearest exit and get a hotel for the night or wait out the storm. The most important thing is you taking yourself out of harm's way.

Matt Brooks can be reached at Follow him on Twitter: @NPNowBrooks.